Jury finds man guilty in road rage shooting

Jury finds man guilty in road rage shooting
Ernest Stickell, 59, of Mechanicsville, Maryland (Courtesy Photo)

A jury found a 59-year-old Maryland man guilty of malicious wounding following an Alexandria road rage incident that occurred last July, according to a news release from the Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Ernest Stickell, 59, of Mechanicsville, Maryland, was found guilty March 9 of unlawful wounding, a felony, for shooting motorist Dejonte Holt on the Eisenhower Connector in July 2017. The jury recommended that Stickell receive four years in prison. 

The defendant was indicted for shooting Holt and her passenger, Ricardo Jennings, in the early morning of July 19. The shooting followed a road rage incident on the Eisenhower Connector. Holt and Jennings, who were unarmed, exited their vehicle to confront Stickell.

The defendant, according to evidence, reached for his loaded 9mm pistol, positioned himself inside the door jamb of his vehicle and opened fire. Witnesses testified that he fired six to 10 rounds at Holt and Jennings. Stickell shot Holt in the neck, shoulder and back using a semi-automatic handgun. Jennings was not injured and Stickell was found not guilty of attempting to shoot him. The defendant continued to fire as Holt ran away to return to her car. Stickell later claimed he fired in self-defense.

Stickell then fled the scene. Three fellow motorists briefly pursued his vehicle during that time and provided the license plate of the defendant’s vehicle to police.

The defendant surrendered to Maryland State Police in Frederick, Maryland hours later. He told Maryland police that he threw his handgun used in the shooting out of his vehicle’s window as he crossed the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The firearm, however, wasn’t recovered. 

“I thank the jury for their time and attention, and for serving as the conscience of the community. In this case, the defendant succumbed to his anger, deciding to take a firearm and indiscriminately shoot at unarmed people on a city street. This type of explosive violence simply cannot be tolerated in Alexandria, and the defendant will now serve a significant penitentiary sentence for his crime,” Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter said in a statement.